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[uhn-urth-lee] /ʌnˈɜrθ li/
seeming not to belong to this earth or world:
unearthly beauty.
supernatural; ghostly; unnaturally strange; weird:
an unearthly scream.
out of the ordinary; unreasonable or absurd:
to get up at an unearthly hour.
Origin of unearthly
1605-15; un-1 + earthly
Related forms
unearthliness, noun
2. preternatural, spectral. See weird. Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2015.
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Examples from the Web for unearthly
Historical Examples
  • It is difficult to digest even ordinary food taken in the unwholesome air of the shed at such an unearthly hour.

    Life in a Railway Factory Alfred Williams
  • "What an unearthly hour," he said, unable to check the yawns.

  • An unearthly gabble of strange water-fowl broke out suddenly, was kept up for a few seconds only, and then ceased.

    A Dream of Empire William Henry Venable
  • When first I saw the donkey I saw him in the sunlight as the unearthly gargoyle that he is.

    Alarms and Discursions G. K. Chesterton
  • Sisters calling out to their brothers in unearthly voices—‘Save me, oh save me, brother!’

    Diary in America, Series Two Frederick Marryat (AKA Captain Marryat)
  • The steel-shod sides were bathed in an unearthly orange glow.

    Pirates of the Gorm Nat Schachner
  • One wonders if it is clearly understood how the "unearthly" element in Poe differs from the "unearthly" element in Shelley.

    Visions and Revisions John Cowper Powys
  • It covered the dawn, the clouding and the unearthly sunset of a hope.

  • He joins in the dance; fast and furious it becomes, to the sound of a wild, unearthly music.

    Essays in the Study of Folk-Songs (1886) Countess Evelyn Martinengo-Cesaresco
  • The silence of the room was broken by a fall, a succession of unearthly screams.

    The Film of Fear Arnold Fredericks
British Dictionary definitions for unearthly


ghostly; eerie; weird: unearthly screams
heavenly; sublime: unearthly music
ridiculous or unreasonable (esp in the phrase unearthly hour)
Derived Forms
unearthliness, noun
Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 2012 Digital Edition
© William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 © HarperCollins
Publishers 1998, 2000, 2003, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2009, 2012
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Word Origin and History for unearthly

1610s, "heavenly, sublime," from un- (1) "not" + earthly. Sense of "ghostly, weird" first recorded 1802. Related: Unearthliness.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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